President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, you were going to discuss the civil aircraft industry, the MC-21 aircraft, is that correct?
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin: Yes, Mr President. I would like to show you a little presentation and give a brief report on preparations for the MC-21 test flights.
Two planes will be involved in the tests. One of them is at Irkut Corporation and the other is at the Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute in Moscow.
The first plane is undergoing ground preparations. It has been assembled and electrified. In December, we will conduct frequency tests of the plane, its navigation systems and chassis, and will install the software for ground testing.
In January or February, it will be taken to a flight test station to install software for the first flight and to carry out the final testing of all the systems.
It is important that the test of the first plane is fully synchronised with the plane located in Moscow, in the Moscow Region, as both the plane and the composite wing – our know-how – are under load; we are testing the strength properties.
I must also mention the third aircraft. Its fuselage will also be assembled at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in December.
As for the date of the first flight, we plan to finish this work in February, receive all the permits from the relevant institutes, but this will depend not only on the aircraft’s technical readiness but also on the weather – after all this is Irkutsk, Siberia. So we are planning it for February, probably early March.
As for the engine, five PD-14 engines were made this year and are now undergoing flight tests. We will adapt them to the MC-21, and the fourth aircraft will already have a PD-14 engine.
Vladimir Putin: Very good.
Dmitry Rogozin: So, in principle, we are observing the schedule.
Mr President, I would like to add that on September 19 you instructed the Government to establish the Aviation Board for systematic work not only on the manufacture of aircraft but also on their adoption by airlines.
Vladimir Putin: Following the example of the Marine Board.
Dmitry Rogozin: Yes. You also instructed the Import Substitution Commission to monitor purchases of foreign aviation equipment worth over one billion roubles. This applies to more or less all short-, medium-, and long-haul aircraft.
I can report that we will be ready to submit to you documents on the formation of the Aviation Board in late November-early December (although strictly speaking this is a Government issue and its importance is obvious to everyone).
I would like to ask you to support this. To make our work systematic, we should have one organisation. I am referring to the Aviation Board, which should synchronise the manufacturing of aircraft and monitor their full life cycle operation so that the new planes we are receiving now (this is the MC-21 about which I reported, the short-haul Il-114 and the upgraded Il-96 in the future – you know this well, you allocated funds from the presidential reserve for this work) could replace foreign aircraft in our civilian aviation market, all the more so since our MC-21 aircraft are technically superior to their US and European counterparts.
When we launch commercial production of future prototypes, they will also have their advantages owing to the broader fuselage and convenience for passengers.
Therefore, I would like to ask you to support this work. We are ready to make it comprehensive and systematic.
Vladimir Putin: All right.
I hope that the new board you spoke about will become a good, new modern instrument for supporting the aviation industry both in the domestic market and, of course, as regards our international commitments. At any rate, it is extremely important to concentrate administrative resources in this area.